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Alumni Submissions – A Client, a Calgarian, and a View on Addiction – Part 2

I encourage you all to ponder your view on addiction. Some of the most amazing, talented, thoughtful people that I have ever met are people that came into my life here. We are not lazy, we are not entitled, we are not weak, we are not lesser than, we need not bow to anybody, we are worthy human beings – warts and all! There is the potential for the unyielding strength of character and spirit in active recovery… relationships can become stronger, love can become deeper, trust can be rebuilt, the soul can become fuller, eyes can be opened, darkness can become light.

I urge you to educate yourself on the subject as it is one that touches nearly everyone’s life at some point. Family members, co-workers, close friends, or even in your own personal journey. A little compassion and support go a long way, trust me.

The stigma needs to be broken!

There are many different stereotypes that are brought to mind when thinking about people who are dealing with drug or alcohol misuse. The majority of these stereotypes make negative assumptions about lifestyles that include drugs and alcohol. People who abuse substances are typically deviants and don’t engage in a society like the rest of the population. They embody different values to mainstream society: skirting the edges, sucking up taxpayers’ hard-earned money, victims of bad upbringings, high school dropouts, prostitutes and pimps. They take drugs in dark, dirty alleyways or squats, voluntarily drink to excess and abuse their wives and kids, rob innocent people, engage in high-risk behaviours with no regard for civility or morality… believe me, many (if not most) of us are NOT that way. I certainly know I am not, nor were any of the highly intelligent and resilient individuals that I encountered at treatment, or at meetings and other sobriety-based gatherings I attended in the years leading up to my time here. There were all walks of life here at different stages of their process.

There were students, labourers, athletes, artists, successful businessmen, skilled tradesmen, fathers, sons, brothers, mentors, husbands, boyfriends, church-goers, philosophers, lawmen, firemen, soldiers, those of a gregarious variety, those who were the strong silent type, young guys, middle-aged guys, old guys, gay guys, straight guys, counsellors, educators, nurses and even a Ph.D. or two. But one thing there was not was a single “bad person” in the whole lot!

….to be continued

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